Volume 76, Number 49 | May 2 -8, 2007

Scoopy’s notebook

Pier pressure: On Tuesday, the New York Post just coincidentally reported that a consultant hired by the Hudson River Park Trust has concluded that “The People’s Pier” sports-centric redevelopment plan for Pier 40 at W. Houston St. is “not financially feasible.” But that isn’t stopping local parents from going all out to pack this Thursday evening’s public hearing at P.S. 41, at 116 W. 11th St., at which the sports plan, along with a more glitzy Cirque du Soleil proposal by The Related Companies, will be presented and discussed. We hear local parents are being dragooned into participating in a phone bank to muster the troops. As the anticipated crowd estimate has ballooned from 300 to 700, Arthur Schwartz, chairperson of Community Board 2’s Parks and Waterfront Committee, kept telling Bob Gormley, C.B. 2 district manager, to reserve more and more space. “I was asked to reserve the auditorium,” Gormley said, “then the cafeteria next door — and then reserve the outdoor area.” There will be an audio — and possibly video — link to the cafeteria and outdoor area so everyone can follow the action. The hearing will start at 7 p.m.

Jolly good fellows: Borough President Scott Stringer’s idea of assigning second-year graduate student “planning fellows” to the community boards has been a big hit in these parts. Chisato Shimada, C.B. 2’s planning fellow, did a pedestrian ramp survey of the entire district. At C.B. 3, Mike Davis is helping the board with its 197a community-based rezoning of the area bounded by Third and Fourth Aves. between Peter Cooper Park and 13th St. “It’s been phenomenal,” C.B. 2’s Gormley said of Shimada’s work. She found that about 23 percent of the board’s street corners lack pedestrian ramps — they’re technically not called “curb cuts,” Gormley noted. (The board covers the area between 14th and Canal Sts., west of the Bowery and Fourth Ave.) Shimada will make a presentation at next month’s C.B. 2 Traffic and Transportation Committee meeting. For their efforts, the planning fellows get a stipend of $5,000.

New chapter: At long last, the new New York Public Library branch in Soho is ready. Called the Mulberry Branch, it will have its grand opening, on Mon., May 21, at 3 p.m., at 10 Jersey St. (between Mulberry and Lafayette Sts.). A natural for Soho, the branch will have a focus on the visual arts and feature works on display by local artists. Also, in recognition of Little Italy, there will be a special Italian section.

Extell to sell? We hear that Extell Development is in the process of selling its entire East Village portfolio. “It is believed that the deal is in contract as of this date,” said a well-placed source, who requested anonymity. “It’s like commodity trading, simply to make money,” the source added of the purported sale. Extell, a national real estate developer, bought 17 East Village buildings last year.

Dogging it: N.Y.U. President John Sexton confided to us that several years ago, as a dogfight was raging over whether to create a small-dog run in Washington Square Park, he thought it all a joke. As a lawyer, he couldn’t help getting into mock debates about where the cutoff point between large and small dogs would be. But as the new owner of a small dog, Legs, a Havanese, he’s been converted. “I now see the wisdom,” he said. “I don’t know who it was that created that small-dog run — I haven’t used it, but I intend to use it!” His new stance on little doggies could be Sexton’s biggest publicity coup yet.

Sorry, mon: Last week’s item on the Global Marijuana March was, again, unfortunately a bit hazy. The event wasn’t last Saturday, as the item implied, but will be this Saturday, starting at 11 a.m. in Washington Square Park and then moving to Tompkins Square Park from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

New life for Death & Co.? We thought the death knell was sounding for Death & Co., the embattled bar and restaurant on E. Sixth St., but a State Liquor Authority investigation may prove otherwise. At issue is the distance from Death & Co. to a nearby synagogue, Anshe Meseritz. Bar owner David Kaplan hired an architect, who measured the distance at 202 feet, 2 feet over the minimum. Neighbors — tired of the bar’s noise and crowd — see a conflict of interest, and appealed to the S.L.A. Apparently, though, it’s S.L.A. policy to have bar owners investigate themselves. The S.L.A. can decide independently to verify the measurement — or not — and won’t say what they’re doing in this case. That could mean good news for Death & Co.; bad news for the neighbors.

HOWL! is resuscitated: Word has it that after a one-year hiatus, the HOWL! Festival of East Village Arts will return this summer. The freewheeling festival is set for Sept. 5-9 and would take over Tompkins Square Park from Friday to Sunday. “Lincoln Center is getting involved. They’re probably going to put up an outdoor stage for the HOWL! Festival there,” a Federation of East Village Artists board member told us. Last year, the festival’s fourth annual installment was postponed due to financial and organizational problems.

Cafe society: Nick Kitsios, nephew of popular Village restaurateur Gus Theodoro of Gus’ Place fame, recently opened Marketplace Café, at 394 Sixth Ave., between Eighth St. and Waverly Pl. On two levels with 55 seats, it’s “Midtown café” style, according to Kitsios, with create-your-own salads, pasta and sandwiches. One customer has even already reserved the mezzanine level for the Halloween Parade, he said.

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